Outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has revealed in an interview with ZDNet that the company felt forced to manufacture its own Surface line of tablets to better compete against the iPad. Ballmer also said that the company’s decision to make its own hardware gave it the best shot to keep pace in a computer landscape where smartphones and tablets are evolving into the dominant species, even though that meant antagonizing some of its OEM partners that also make Windows-based computers. More →
Try as Microsoft might, it just can’t seem to put a dent in iPad sales with its Apple-bashing Surface ads. The company has issued several different ads that deal various jabs at Apple’s popular tablets, but the Windows RT-powered Microsoft Surface has yet to catch on with consumers while iPad sales came in at 14 million units last quarter. So, Microsoft decided to try something new. Since Android tablet sales have been growing far more quickly than iPad sales over the past year, why not start bashing them instead? And so we have Microsoft’s newest Surface RT advertisements, which set their sights on Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 instead of Apple’s iPad lineup. More →
Analysts aren’t impressed with Microsoft and its Surface tablets, and they expect the company to only sell less than 10 million units by the end of next June. Kash Rangan from Merrill Lynch downgraded Microsoft stock to Underperfom from Neutral, Barron’s reports, while Heather Bellini from Goldman Sachs maintained a Sell rating with a $28 price target for Microsoft stock. More →
Microsoft is spending hundreds of millions to convert tablet owners to the Surface this holiday season, but according to one survey, the public is still too fascinated by Apple’s iPad to pay much attention. OnePoll, commissioned by SellCell.com, found that 22% of tablet owners are planning to trade in their devices, and 49% of those people are going to spend the money on either an iPad Air or an iPad mini. Around 15% are considering an Android tablet, which have consistently outsold Apple tablets for quite some time, but only 5% are thinking about Microsoft’s Surface. Now that the new iPad models have hit the streets, upgrading is likely to begin en masse, along with some timely holiday shopping considering the risk of supply constraints. If Microsoft hopes to make a dent in the competitive tablet market, it might need a Christmas miracle to go along with its $400 million marketing campaign.
Microsoft is planning on doing whatever it takes to get Surfaces and third-party Windows tablets into homes over the holiday season. WinSuperSite reports that Microsoft’s goal is to sell 16 million Windows tablets before the end of December, while simultaneously repairing consumer opinion of the company’s brand after the botched launch of Windows 8. With Windows 8.1, Microsoft is going to spend a boatload of cash, $405 million according to WinSuperSite, in order to change consumers’ minds. This is a significant leap over last year’s $241 million for retail Windows marketing. More →
The good news for Microsoft was that it didn’t have to write off $900 million because of poor Surface sales again last quarter. The trouble, though, is we still don’t have any idea of how well the Surface is really selling, although we do know that it’s selling better than it has in previous quarters. Microsoft said on Thursday that its Surface sales generated $400 million in revenue over the last quarter and that it sold twice as many Surfaces in fiscal Q1 2014 than it sold in the previous quarter. More →
Apple’s events typically lean on hardware announcements, such as the debut of the iPad Air on Tuesday, but the tech giant took some time to talk about software updates as well, including the revamped — and now entirely free — iWork suite of applications. There must be something in the air today, because not only has T-Mobile taken AT&T to task over tablet data plans, but now Microsoft is joining in on the fun with a savage riposte of its own. More →
Microsoft may have learned a thing or two from watching Samsung work its magic over the years: If at first you don’t succeed try again and again and again with multiple sizes, specs, aspect ratios and prices. GeekWire reports that Microsoft Surface boss Panos Panay said that the company is planning to release Surface models with multiple different sizes and aspect ratios, similar to how Samsung released several variations of its Galaxy S4 flagship smartphone this year. Although Panay didn’t give too many details on how many different kinds of Surfaces the company will release we do know that Microsoft is at least planning to release a Surface mini in the coming months that will presumably be priced to compete with the iPad mini, the Kindle Fire HD, the Nexus 7 and other popular small tablets.
It didn’t turn up at Microsoft’s press conference earlier this week like the Associated Press said it would, but a smaller Surface tablet is almost certainly in the works. The latest report suggesting Microsoft is on the verge of announcing a “Surface mini” comes from IHS iSuppli analyst Rhoda Alexander, who told CNET that the upcoming Windows RT slate will feature a 7.5-inch display with a 4:3 aspect ratio and 1,400 x 1,050-pixel resolution. The only other detail provided was that the new Surface tablet may include embedded 3G/4G connectivity, which would be a first for Microsoft. A separate report on Wednesday from ZDNet suggested that Microsoft’s tinier tablet won’t debut until next year, so those looking for a new Surface in 2013 will seemingly have to choose to either the Surface 2 or the Surface Pro 2.
Apple’s iPad has dominated the tablet space since it launched, but just in case you’re in the market for a change, Microsoft has posted a new offer at participating company stores that will allow you to trade in a “gently used iPad 2, 3, or 4″ for a gift card starting at $200. Microsoft does not mention a value limit for the offers in its advertisement, but if you want to take advantage of this deal, you will have to complete the trade-in in person at a Microsoft store. The promotion started on September 5th and will last through October 27th, over a month after the company’s planned Surface 2 launch event on September 23rd. The Surface RT currently retails for $349 and the Surface Pro costs $799.
Microsoft’s first Surface tablet was an absolute disaster. The company managed to pull in $853 million in revenue during the last fiscal year from combined Surface RT and Surface Pro sales, which sounds like a pretty solid showing until you consider the facts that it also wrote off $900 million and spent a small fortune advertising the devices. But if at first you don’t succeed… We have known for quite some time that Microsoft is prepping second-generation models and Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang on recently confirmed to CNET that his firm is “working really hard” on the new processor that will power the Surface 2. He also revealed that the second-generation Surface RT will support Outlook, pointing to the addition of Microsoft’s class-leading email program as a key differentiator compared to the first Surface RT.
While the iPad is a very profitable business for Apple, the Surface tablet cost Microsoft almost $1 billion last quarter. But that won’t stop the Redmond, Washington-based software giant from firing more shots at Apple’s slate in a new Surface RT advertisement. Hey, it worked for Samsung so why not? Microsoft’s recent tablet ads haven’t been shy in poking at the iPad’s shortcomings and its latest spot follows suit. Simple and straightforward, the new ad runs through a list of things the Surface RT does better than Apple’s tablet, and then it encourages people to “Work easy. Play hard.” by purchasing a new Surface RT for just $350. By comparison, Apple’s latest iPad starts at $499. The full video is embedded below. More →
Microsoft positioned its Surface as a competitor to Apple’s iPad and if that is indeed the case, Microsoft has failed miserably. In documents filed with the Securities and Exchange commission on Tuesday, Microsoft stated that it earned $853 million in revenue from Surface sales during the fiscal year ended on June 30th, 2013. That figure doesn’t include the $900 million write-down it took or the huge amount of cash it spent on marketing and advertising, so Microsoft has clearly lost a substantial amount of money on its Surface bet so far — yes, the Surface is officially a flop. More →